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Brands Hatch meeting report

By Adam Grant
Photos: Gary Hawkins

TinTop All three south east championships returned to Brands Hatch following their various away meetings. Starting off proceedings were the Tin Tops, who had a reasonable grid of 21 cars. This was reduced by two when Adrian Matthews and Graham Heard both had issues in qualifying.

Lining up on pole position would be Bradley Lane in his Honda Civic, whilst alongside him was Rod Birley driving Danny Brooker’s Vauxhall Astra. Rikki Taylor headed up row two from Chris Bassett, with Dave Charlton and Kamran Tunio on row three. In 7th spot was championship leader Alfie Brooker, who also appeared on the front cover of the programme. From the start Lane and Birley ran side by side for most of the first lap, until the Astra edged ahead going into Druids for the second time. Birley edged clear at a steady rate, whilst Lane settled into second spot. Taylor was initially third, until Bassett slipped past on lap 5. Alfie Brooker had made a good start to run fourth initially, but he gradually fell back sixth behind Charlton. Tunio was 7th until lap 13 when he retired, whilst Charlton hunted down Taylor and past him on lap 16. This was just after Brooker pulled off with a broken engine belt. Meanwhile Birley took the chequered flag with Lane and Bassett completing the podium. Charlton was fourth, from T3 winner Taylor. Kevin Palmer pedalled his Mini to a good sixth spot from Marcus Bicknell, Steve Everson (in Lane’s Peugeot again) and Chris Bicknell. Jamie Primett, Jon Wild, Gideon September and Vince Proto completed the finishers.

Race two saw Lane usurp Birley on the first lap, and from then on he maintained a gap of just over a second. Taylor was again third initially, until Bassett got into his stride on lap 7. Charlton left it late to pass Taylor, just before the race was stopped early due to Dominic Ryan having a big crash coming out of Paddock bend. Thankfully the driver was uninjured, although the Ford Puma looked very sad. Palmer took sixth again, from Everson, Marcus Bicknell and Tunio. Mikey Day completed the top ten. All of which now sees Taylor take the points lead.

Modified Saloon Car The modified saloons qualified late on Saturday, with both their races on Sunday. Despite a small entry there were some quality cars in the field. Alex Sidwell continued his good form by taking pole position from Rod Birley, now back in his familiar Ford Escort. Championship leader Adrian Bradley lined up third, with newcomer Shanaka Clay in another BMW fourth. Malcolm Wise and Andy Thompson occupied row three, with Mark Cripps and Martyn Scott next up. The final row saw Gary Cole and Alfie Brooker, following the demise of Steve Dann’s VW Polo. Race one was on a soaking track, as rain was falling quite heavily. Birley edged ahead going through Paddock Bend and used superior traction to edge clear of Bradley who also passed the mighty Holden. As Birley carved out a two second lead, it all evaporated on lap five when the safety car appeared. Clay had spun on Brabham straight and clipped the pit wall which dislodged his rear bumper off the BMW. The offending item lay in the middle of the track. At the same time Brooker had pulled off at Paddock bend, so his car was also removed. On the re-start Bradley stayed closer to Birley as the rain increased. Thompson was now in third, but the safety car appeared again on lap 9. This time it was for the spun car of Cripps, which had gone off at Graham Hill bend. The next re-start saw Sidwell lose the Commodore coming out of Clearways and ending up stuck in the gravel. Birley just held on to take the flag from Bradley, as Wise nipped past Thompson. Scott came home fifth from Cole.

Modified Saloon Car Race two saw drivers deciding which tyres to use as the track was slowly drying. Birley, Sidwell and Bradley opted for slicks, whilst Wise went on wets and Thompson had an intermediate looking tyre choice. Birley slithered into the lead initially, but Thompson was ahead by Clearways. Bradley shadowed Birley, until he started to drop back. Birley seemed to have made the correct choice as he closed back in on Thompson, only for a wheel to come loose which necessitated a pit stop. This allowed Thompson to preserve his tyres and cruise home for the win. Sidwell gradually upped his pace and swept passed Bradley into second. Early drama for Wise saw him loose several laps as his bonnet had flown up, which required attention. It was therefore Cripps who took fourth, from Cole, Alfie Brooker (now in the Vauxhall Astra) Birley and Wise. The net result was that Bradley slightly increased his points lead over Birley.

Intermarque In the intermarque championship, which is changing to silhouette specials next year, there was a good grid of 27 cars. Qualifying saw the joint championship leaders end up first and second as Lewis Smith was the only driver to get below the one minute mark. Steve Burrows lined up alongside whilst Malcolm Blackman was third, albeit nearly two seconds adrift after a suspension breakage. Ray Harris lined up fourth, from Reuben Taylor and Daniel Smith. The top ten were completed by Colin Smith, Paul Knight (heading the seniors) Ian Hales and Jason Hunn. The first race was still on a wet track, but it made no difference to Lewis Smith as he cruised to a fairly comfortable victory from Burrows. Harris held third for one lap, until Blackman asserted himself. These two then maintained their positions to the end, as Burrows tried to keep sight of Lewis at the front. The wet conditions favoured the Hunn boys as Jason headed home Danny, with the BMWs of Simon Smith and Keith White next across the line. Paul Knight managed to hold off Steve Dudman for ninth, as Reuben Taylor slipped back to 11th. Richard Smith, in 12th, was the final driver to go the full distance such was the pace of his son.

Intermarque Race two, at the end of the day, was greeted with a dry track. The first 8 finishers were reversed on the starting grid, which meant that White was on pole position. The first lap and a bit was very spectacular as Blackman and Lewis Smith scythed through the cars ahead of them. Going three abreast into Paddock bend on lap two, saw Smith sweep right around the outside into the lead. From there on he held it to the chequered flag to take the championship lead on his own. Blackman held onto second, until 9 when he pulled off exiting Druids. By now Burrows was up to third, which therefore became second. Harris eventually muscled his way past the impressive Danny Hunn, following the demise of Jason Hunn on lap 7. Hales made good progress from the rear of the grid to take fifth, as he nipped ahead of the battling BMWs of White and Simon Smith. The race ended prematurely, following Taylor spinning into the gravel at Paddock bend. The safety car did not pick up the leader, but soon waved past the intervening cars. A couple of lapped cars also took advantage to unlap themselves. As it became obvious the stricken Peugeot was proving difficult to move, the chequered flag appeared a couple of minutes early. The positions therefore did not change for the first 7, but a good run by John Steward saw him take 8th from Philip Spinks and Philip Young.

With one more meeting to go all three championships are still up for grabs. One thing is for sure is that there will be a new champion in both the intermarque and the tin tops.

Next Race Meeting:


Modified Saloon Car, TinTop and Intermarque

Latest Galleries:

Latest gallery BARC SEC Modified Saloon Car and TinTop Championship,
22nd September 2018

Latest gallery Scrapco Avon Intermarque Championship,
22nd September 2018

Last Race Results

Modified Saloon Car:

1. Andy Thompson
2. Alex Sidwell
3. Adrian Bradley
See full results

TinTop:

1. Brad Lane
2. Rod Birley
3. Chris Bassett
See full results

Intermarque:

1. Lewis Smith
2. Steve Burrows
3. Ray Harris
See full results

2018 Championship Leaders:

BARC SEC Modified Saloon Car:

Adrian Bradley
See full standings

BARC SEC TinTop:

Rikki Taylor
See full standings

Scrapco / Avon Intermarque:

Lewis Smith
See full standings